Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Joe Bonamassa - Different Shades of Blue

Blues Bracelet

All eleven tracks are self-penned, with friends, and there are some familiar echos, for example Hendrix on opening swift instrumental Hey Baby [New Rising Sun], and Zappa/Juicy Lucy aka Willie the Pimp on second Oh Beautiful. It's a heavyish start, thank goodness. I'm sure I've written before: Bonamassa is a prodigious talent and artist maturing all the time, and his heavy blues is always tinged with melody in the way Clapton at his best always achieved. The wah-wah guitar soloing on Oh Beautiful is as the title says. Horns pump up the funk [and we know JB likes his funk] on third Love Ain't A Love Song, whilst fourth Living On The Moon has the horns blowing more rock blues. Fifth Heartache Follows Me Wherever I Go keeps the horns caressing the blues, and there is a great guitar solo in this one, forgiving the platitude. Eighth track is the title song and it is an emotive blues ballad with pop leanings and Bonamassa in fine voice as well as playing. The album's final two songs embrace the whole perfectly: tenth Trouble Town is a pumped-up horn surge of a blues romp, and closer So, What Would I Do is a slowed blues-gospel lament where Joe again shows that his vocal chops have grown to match the guitar prowess he's always shown, sounding a little like Michael McDonald at times but at a slightly higher register. Wall to wall, start to finish, a to z: another gem in the expanding Bonamassa blues bracelet.

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